NEW PORT RICHEY — River Ridge played well Wednesday night in its 2-0 victory in a Class 5A, District 7 semifinal matchup at Rams Booster Stadium.
But it looks like the Royal Knights may need a little bit of a tuneup at tonight's practice if they look to win another district championship. A young but always prepared Land O'Lakes squad waits to meet River Ridge on Friday night for the title after defeating Central 1-0 in a tight-knit game.
The first game of the night pitted Land O'Lakes (13-9) against a determined and defensive-minded Central team. The Bears (6-11-4) limited the Gators to four shots, but Land O'Lakes needed just one of them to count.
One shot found the back of the net in the 61st minute as midfielder Andrea Hess scored on a pass from Alexis Villar that just got by the Bears' defense to give the Gators a 1-0 advantage.
But it was Gators goalkeeper Tara Marshall's save in the 58th minute on a penalty kick by the Bears' Ashley Custodio that gave Land O'Lakes the lift it needed.
"Crazy, it was all in the moment," Marshall said. "It was do or die and I knew I had to make the save and thankfully, I did."
Later, River Ridge (15-2) essentially cruised to a 2-0 win against fourth-seeded Ridgewood (4-13). The Knights outshot the Rams 28-2 and also had 13 corner kicks to the Rams' none.
The Knights played to a tie until 2:23 before halftime when junior Mikaela Morolla beat Rams goalkeeper Brittany Martin, who played a stellar game, making 13 saves.
Land O'Lakes and River Ridge will meet at 7 for the district championship.
"It should be a good game Friday night," River Ridge coach Skip Glover said.